Girls Can STEM! Programs Encourage Girls To Explore Science and Computer Careers
Young girls across the world who lack support in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) careers can turn to organizations to lessen the stigma with the lack of gender diversity.
There are minimal women in STEM, but high schools like John Bowne High School are pushing for more STEM-related course for students.
“I have a computer science class and I was excited about it when I chose the class last year. Now I am like, ‘What did I get myself into?’” asked Lauren David, a senior at the ambitious school located in Flushing, Queens.
Male students are over three times more likely to be interested in STEM majors and careers, compared to female students, according to a 2012 study by My College Options and STEMconnecter.
More than 57 percent of all girls say that girls don’t usually consider a career in STEM, according to a 2012 study by Girl Scout Research Institute.
Within her computer science class, David notices that there is clearly more males than females.
“But I won’t drop the class because I know it is important and I can manage,” said Lauren, who is not a member of the school’s STEM program, but took the initiative to take the class to kick off a career in computer science.
Several organizations have developed over the last few years to help push for young girls to be apart of STEM careers.
ChickTech offers two programs for high school girl and women looking for careers in the field.
“Girls who participated in our year-long program reported a 118 percent increase in confidence in technology skills, 81 percent increase in (feeling) of having ‘tech knowledge’ and 60 percent increase interest in a technology career,” said Victoria Lee, a Program Manager with ChickTech.
The high school program is a year-long series of events every weekend for 100 high school girls who participate in hands-on and interactive programs that include robotics, web programming, gaming, and building computers.
“Our careers program creates events and workshops that are focused on creating community among women and providing them with the support they need, whether it be career-focused, technical, or emotional and social,” said Lee.
Women make up half of the United States workforce, but hold just 25 percent of the jobs in technical or computing fields, according to Girls Who Code.
“I do want to try robotics but I am nervous because I may not be good and I feel that boys are typically stronger in math,” said Dami Lee, a senior at John Bowne.
Technovation is a company that is geared to help girls enjoy STEM. Their mission is to inspire and educate girls and women to solve real-world problems through technology.
“Students work in teams to develop mobile app ‘startups’ to solve real problems in their communities. Technovation coaches and mentors lead the teams as they compete for a part of $20,000 in awards,” according to the non-profit’s website.
Technovation was even featured in the 2015 documentary, “CODEGIRL” directed by Lesley Chilcott.
Girls Inc. Eureka also offers an intensive program for girls as well as STEM based clubs.
Thanks to these organizations and school programs, participation from young girls may increase in the years to come.